No special license plates for Trump's inaugural parade


President-elect Donald Trump is overturning an inaugural tradition: special license plates.

Trump has declined to produce special plates for the vehicle motorcade that will take him from the Capitol to the White House after he is sworn in, the first new president to do so since Herbert Hoover's inauguration in 1929.

Inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn told The Wall Street Journal there are "no plans" for special plates, declining to elaborate.

Similar to Air Force One and Marine One, the president's limousine is marked with a District of Columbia license plate No. 1, with the vice president's car bearing a No. 2.

Collectors consider the plates precious – just a few dozen people own one of each plate issued at every inauguration since Franklin Roosevelt's 1933 swearing in. The exception was 1945, when an inauguration parade was skipped due to World War II austerity measures.

"I'm sure this is just like cocaine," Charlie Gauthier, a retired National Highway Traffic Safety Administration executive, who owns a complete set, told the Journal. "Once you get addicted to this stuff, you just keep going. If you have plates that were issued to a president and a vice president of the United States, that's a pretty cool thing to have in your house."

Plates from Roosevelt's inaugurals sell at auction at prices from $4,000 to $12,000, and those from more recent events, such as the plates affixed to Vice President Joe Biden's car in 2009, recently listed for $1,499 on eBay, the Journal reported. The plates from other vehicles in the parade – like police motorcycles ($399 for one from Bill Clinton's first inaugural in 1993) – and those bearing signs of use or fading (such as one from Ronald Reagan's second inauguration in 1985, for $69.95) – can be considerably less.

"It's unfortunate that Mr. Trump is breaking with tradition, because his inaugural plates probably would have been highly collectible, very classy and one of the most tremendous designs in presidential history," GOP consultant Ryan Williams told the Journal.

The Journal says the process of designing, printing and delivering plates takes just three or four days, so there's still time before next Friday's swearing-in if Trump's team decides to follow tradition after all.